Variant

Robison Wells, Author
Robison Wells. HarperTeen, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-202608-8
Reviewed on: 08/22/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-209351-6
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-06-211421-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-211144-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-211145-6
Paperback - 376 pages - 978-0-06-202609-5
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In a chilling, masterful debut, Wells gives the classic YA boarding school setting a Maze Runner twist, creating an academy of imprisoned teenagers who must fight to survive when the rules change daily, and the punishment for breaking those rules is death. Seventeen-year-old Benson Fisher, tired of foster homes, applies for a scholarship to Maxfield Academy in New Mexico, hoping for a fresh start. Instead, he is trapped with roughly 70 other teens divided into three factions, with no teachers, no real classes, and no chance of escape at a school overseen by the mysterious and sinister "Iceman," who doles out punishments and awards points. Though Wells doesn't provide much detail about Benson's past, his honesty and determination to escape make him a compelling protagonist, and it's easy to get drawn into his fellow students' plights as well. There are plenty of "didn't see that coming" moments and no shortage of action or violence. With its clever premise, quick pace, and easy-to-champion characters, Wells's story is a fast, gripping read with a cliffhanger that will leave readers wanting more. Ages 13–up. (Oct.)
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